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Pie in the sky: Drones to deliver Domino's pizza in New Zealand

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a hand-tossed Hawaiian with mushrooms. And you don't even have to tip the delivery drone.


We've seen the future of food delivery, and it's airborne.

Domino's Pizza Enterprises tested pizza delivery by drone Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand, and it seems all systems are go for flying sausage and pepperoni pies later this year.

Don't get too excited, America -- or even you Kiwis, yet. The program will start with only one New Zealand store, though the country OK'd commercial drone deliveries last year.

"What drones allow us to do is to extend that delivery area by removing barriers such as traffic and access, as well as offering a much faster, safer delivery option, which means we can deliver further afield than we currently do to our rural customers while reaching our urban customers in a much more efficient time," Domino's group CEO and managing director Don Meij said in a statement.

"Adding innovation such as drone deliveries means customers can experience cutting-edge technology and the convenience of having their Supreme pizza delivered via air to their door," he added. Earlier this year, the company revealed a wheeled prototype of a delivery bot, dubbing it DRU, for Domino's Robotic Unit. It's calling this one DRU drone.

The drones used are from drone-delivery company Flirtey.

"We are getting closer to the time where you can push a button on your smartphone and have Domino's delivered by drone to your home," Flirtey's Matt Sweeny said.

But an expert who spoke to Reuters made the drone-delivery plans seem a little soggy. Philip Solaris, the director of drone company X-craft Enterprises, told the news service regulations require drones to be kept in sight at all times, painting a weird picture of each drone flight being accompanied by a babysitter of sorts.

"I can't truly see how commercially viable that idea is because you would have to literally have somebody walking along to keep it in the line of sight, watching it at all times," Solaris told Reuters.

Drones aside, how do we Americans get some of the New Zealand Domino's menu offerings? Peri-Peri chicken, garlic prawn and apricot chicken pizzas? Chicken and cranberry? Hot chili beef? And on the dessert menu, salted-caramel chocolate mousse? How far can those drones fly, anyway?